Seasonal Design with Rita Calvert
Don't forget to tell your special people you love them...every day and especially on the day of love! What better sentiment on Valentine's Day than to share the love by way of concocting a parfait for two and then dishing out relaxation with fragrant aromatherapy baths. Quite cozy!
The aromatherapy information is from a workshop Kerry Kelly of Homestead Gardens, Davidsonville gave a few weeks ago. You will want to keep this herbal treasure trove filed away for a soothing bath or two.
Cafe Au Lait Parfait
Indulgent and nutritionally rich, this simple layered dessert packs a gentle sweet punch. Basically it's just an "assembly" as we say in the food world. That means you don't have to worry about a recipe or precise measurements, just get quality ingredients and create as you go. You can build this parfait for two right in the serving bowl or parfait glass.
For the yogurt I used a newly discovered thick, creamy and sustainable product found at Annapolis Whole Foods. Snowville Creamery Yogurt is cream at the top pure yogurt from pastured goats eating as nature intended. The plain variety is very elegant, however, the coffee cardamom is over the top. You'll want to eat this mildly sweetened creaminess like a pudding.
More on Unsweetened Cocoa Nibs: The superstar of chocolate known as cacao beans are grown on small trees native to Mexico, Central and South America. Organic cacao nibs are THE real naked chocolate treat-not a thing added! Made from crushed cacao beans, these raw nibs are the original unsweetened chocolate chip. Cocoa nibs are crunchy, flavorful, and packed with powerful nutrients, antioxidants, and natural mood lifters. I also found 2 varieties of this at Annapolis Whole Foods and couldn't find elsewhere in our region.
- vanilla or coffee cardamom thick yogurt (Greek style, if you like the brand)
- cocoa nibs, unsweetened
- sliced almonds, toasted
- fresh mint leaves for garnish
In the parfait vessel, 1st add a nice layer of yogurt. Sprinkle with cocoa nibs and toasted almonds. Add more yogurt to fill to top of glass or bowl OR add an additional layer of "goodies", if you like. Sprinkle the cocoa nibs and almonds around the outer top edge. Garnish with a mint leaf or two.
Basil, bay, beebalm, calendula, catnip, chamomile flowers, chervil, fennel, hyssop, lavender leaves & flowers, lemon balm, marjoram, mints, oregano, rosemary, sage, savory, southernwood, tansy flowers, thyme, valerian root, violet leaves & flowers
Herbal Bath Preparations
- Soak 20 minutes only, 1 tbsp olive oil may be added after first 10 min.
- Place herbs in muslin bag or old pantyhose.
- An infusion may be made and added to bathwater (let cool somewhat before adding), or bag may be hung under faucet while tub fills.
- Bath bag may be used as a washcloth.
- If you prefer showers, the cooled infusion may be used as a body splash during your shower.
- Skin should be patch tested for sensitivity before using.
- ½ cup fresh lemon balm
- ½ cup fresh chamomile blossoms
- 2 cups boiling water
Steep 20 minutes
- ¼ cup fresh sweet marjoram
- 2 tablespoons fresh lavender buds
- 2 tablespoons fresh peppermint
- 1 quart boiling water
Simmer covered for 20 minutes
- 3 tablespoons each: chervil or parsley, lovage leaves or root, and mint
- 1 quart water
Infuse 15 minutes
- 2 tablespoons each: rosemary, mint, chamomile blossoms
- 1 teaspoon sage, savory, or thyme
Beautiful Fragrant Bath
- (dried herbs may be mixed and kept in covered glass jar for decoration—also makes a thoughtful homemade gift)
- Equal parts: lavender blossoms, sweet marjoram, rose geranium leaves, rose petals
- ½ part orange mint or chocolate mint
Use ½ cup of dried mixture to 1 quart of water, infuse 20 minutes
Skin Soothing Bath
1 tablespoon each: mint, chamomile flowers, rosemary, lovage, (yarrow and elder flowers if available)
Infuse in one quart water for 20 minutes